Maco is committed to minimizing the negative impact on the local environment and communities by promoting environmental practices and policies aimed to protect each region. Our artisans make their crafts from raw materials locally source from the bounty of our country. One of the most common materials are hemp and palm tree fibers. Hemp has recently become a popular alternative to other materials such as plastic, around the world for its durability and reusable nature. However, Colombian indigenous communities have been using hemp for centuries. It grows well and plenty in the countries climate and the indigenous people of Colombian have known how to turn it into fiber and then weave it beautifully for generations. It is not mass-cropped by huge corporations and then sold to large businesses. It is a plant that grows naturally in our artisans backyards where they maintain what they need and nothing more.
Palm tree fiber is a good material because it can be found in much of the country since different kinds of palm trees grow in different regions. From the beaches of the Caribbean and the Choco region to the rolling hills of Antioquia and Nariño this is another example of a natural resource that is not overproduced or overcropped because it is use within capacity by people like the artisans we work with. It also makes for beautiful bags, hats, and home decor.
Fruits and plants juices are used to dyed fibers and give the crafts their color. Tahua seeds and other seeds are frequently use as bottoms for the bags and baskets. It is important to keep in mind that part of the artisans process is procuring their raw materials directly from their environment, preparing them by separating the fibers and then drying and dyeing them to begin the process of making the craft. It is all done personally and by hand. These processes might take days or months depending on the size of the craft and its elaboration. This is the reason why these products can't (shouldn't) be mass produced and the reason why each piece is a work of art and the product of incredible dedication and inspiration.
Some of the bags such as the Arhuaca and the Misak are weaved out of untreated wool from local sheep that the indigenous communities who inhabited the mountains of Sierra Nevada and Cauca respectively raise as sources of prime materials. It is important to visualize these crafters' process of raising the sheep, shearing them and preparing the wool to weave their mochilas and most of the garments needed to survive the inclement weather of the mountains.